18:14 GMT +318 June 2019
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    In this May 18, 2017, photo, a Syrian National flag hangs out of a damaged building at the mountain resort town of Zabadani in the Damascus countryside, Syria.

    Lavrov Says Syrian Safe Zones Temporary Measure, Not Aimed at Splitting Country

    © AP Photo / Hassan Ammar
    Middle East
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    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussed the Syrian Crisis with his Saudi Arabian counterpart on Sunday, paying special attention to the establishment of safe zones in the war-torn country and the ways to find a political solution to the armed conflict.

    JEDDAH (Sputnik) — Moscow and Riyadh agree that the so-called de-escalation zones contribute to peace efforts in Syria, Lavrov said after the talks with Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel Jubeir.

    "We agree on the fact that the establishment of de-escalation zones in the country is an important step forward, which helps cement the ceasefire regime, find more efficient solutions to the humanitarian problems of the civilians, and creates conditions for taking the political process forward on the basis of the UN Security Council Resolution 2254," he told reporters.

    At the same time, the Russian foreign minister noted that the safe zones are temporary, adding that no country that has agreed to create the zones, "has intentions to maintain them forever, thus creating a kind of enclaves on the Syrian territory." Lavrov reiterated that the zones have been created for six months.

    The safe zones, created with help from Russia, Turkey, and Iran, have been operating in southern Syria, Eastern Ghouta and Homs province. Talks on the fourth safe zone in the Idlib province are currently underway.

    Lavrov also said that Russia was actively supporting the efforts of Saudi Arabia to bring together different Syrian opposition groups for setting up a united delegation for the peace talks in Geneva.

    "I'm sure that when the opposition unites, and I believe that this will definitely happen, we all will recommend the participants of a united delegation to work out a constructive position, which will let further go down the route within the Geneva process," the minister added.

    Lavrov added that the international community should urge the Syrian opposition formations to create a single delegation for the talks to accelerate the peace process.


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    zone, de-escalation, ceasefire, UN, Sergei Lavrov, Syria, Russia, Saudi Arabia
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